Reading Group Discussion Guides

My main aim in writing historical fiction is to create recognizably real characters in lifelike situations that establish palpable connections between the long-gone and the living. I solicit the interest of reading groups and relish invitations to join their discussions. Interacting with readers as they analyze my characters' idiosyncracies and actions is more instructive to me than the responses of professional editors or reviewers.
- Harriet Rochlin,

Discussion Guides are available for the following books:
Click book cover for discussion guide


Critical Responses to Reading Groups

Chevra Hadassah Reading Group
South Florida

Thank you so much for your personal study guide for The Reformer's Apprentice. Our study group met last night, and the questions prompted some terrific discussions. We all really enjoyed this book, and I am about to start reading The First Lady of Dos Cacahuates. Thank you again for all your help.

Harriett Martin

ORT Reading Group
Altadena, California

Your presence added a very special dimension to our discussion: a comprehension of the author's background and perspective, the creation and development of characters, the plot and its relation to reality, the historical background and the interaction between fact and fiction. Your discussion guidelines were excellent, generating informed, sincere and thoughtful responses. You have enriched our perceptions about Jews in the American West, and the lovely, informal atmosphere you created made you many friends in our Chapter.

Hava Ben Zvi

Ariel Hadassah
Los Angeles, California

The members are still talking about the many insights you touched upon with regard to early Jewish life in the Western and Southwestern United States. Having you in our midst to personally autograph your books surely enlivened the event. We hope that other Hadassah groups will be able to hear you speak as you have so much to contribute to our enrichment.

Shandy Small

Temple Israel Libraries and Media Center Book Club
West Bloomfield, Michigan

Edie Broida, a seasoned and widely-sought book group facilitator, wrote the following to the author:

I'm having the best time re-reading On Her Way Home in preparation for my Temple introduction this coming Monday, and again the evening of May 30. I've been looking for my "link," and I think it is how truly diverse Jewish history is: the diaspora has certainly landed us in so many different environments. Also having fun as I watch feisty Frieda rise to the challenge.... As I read it I can't help thinking of the Patty Hearst story and post traumatic syndrome; also the Indian stories you allude to where the captive develops a love relationship with the captor. Do you have a clipping of the original story that inspired this? You mentioned that [some events] grew out of an actual trial. What was the real life outcome as compared to the fictional?

Edie Broida

Brandeis Reading Group
Encino, California

I just returned home and am still basking in the glow I felt all during your wonderful presentation. Your warmth and charm were felt by all who were there. After you left I received many expressions of appreciation for my having been so fortunate as to have been able to persuade you to be with us. On behalf of all of our members, please accept our sincerest gratitude for a most wonderful and informative afternoon.

Marcia Tracht

Women's American ORT
San Marino, California

It was a thrill to have you attend the May meeting of the San Marino ORT book group.... From the spirited discussion about your novel The Reformer's Apprentice: A Novel of Old San Francisco, you can see we all had read the book, and many had finished Books Two and Three of your trilogy. We loved the story and could relate with our lives, as well as our mothers' and grandmothers' experiences, to that of your heroine Frieda Levie.

Peggy Schiffman